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WY Workforce Services Never Inspected Lovell Plant

Despite violations at sister plants, the Wyoming Department of Workforce Service never inspected a sugar beet plant in Lovell where an employee was killed in January. Western Sugar Cooperative's Torrington plant received 15 citations in 2013, including one for improper guard rails -- the same problem that led to the death of 28-year-old AnfesaGalaktionoff.

Standards and Compliance Administrator John Ysebaert says the agency had no reason to inspect the Lovell plant because it had no previous history of incidents.  The managers had also been informed that citations from one plant applied to all their plants in the state.  “Ultimately, the employers are the ones responsible for providing that safe work place for their employees.” 

Ysebaert says state legislators recently approved four new OSHA consultants and a new inspector to help regulate the 23,000 registered employers in the state.  But he says it will take time to feel the impacts of the new staff on Wyoming’s injury and fatality rates, which are some of the worst in the U.S.

Melodie Edwards is the host and producer of WPM's award-winning podcast The Modern West. Her Ghost Town(ing) series looks at rural despair and resilience through the lens of her hometown of Walden, Colorado. She has been a radio reporter at WPM since 2013, covering topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture.

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